What’s better than wine for breakfast?

Cute bit of marketing from Wines of Brasil.

*Disclaimer: Snooth provided transportation and boarding so I could attend this event.

Not much, really. Except perhaps Brazilian wine for breakfast which was a new wine experience for me. Not the wine for breakfast part, the Brazilian part. I suppose I vaguely knew that wine is made in Brazil, similar to how I know wine is made in Kansas, but I’ve never seen any in the market. It appears that Brazil’s largest market is in Russia, with the US coming in 3rd, but a very distant third.  Overall, Merlot is the dominant red grape with about 60% of the red wine produced being Merlot.

I’m always excited to explore a new to me wine region, and Brazil is no exception. The folks from Wines of Brasil brought a wide range of styles for us to try, from sparkling to dessert wine. Following are my notes, exactly as I typed them into my iPad, with only my spelling cleaned up.

The line up.

2010 Cave Geisse Nature sparkling- made in the Champagne Method, bright pear, acid, bread, slight cream, green apple, lots of acid, tart, definitely will wake up your taste buds, which was an excellent start to my day since I didn’t sleep well in the hotel the night before.

NV Casa Valduga 130: peppery, smokey,  yellow apple, Asian pear, seems like a little residual sugar, pear, apple, acidity, tight tart bubbles

2011 Salton Virtude Chardonnay: butter oak, coconut, pear, apple, light on the palate, slight butter, pear, apple.

2012 Lidio Carraro Dadivas Chardonnay: melon, tropical, pear, light, spice, herbs, very light, apple, pear. The winery uses no wood of any kind.

2009 Villagio Grando Chardonnay: herbs, dank, wet, stone, cement, green, earth, cedar, very herbal, pear, not a lot of fruit.

2007 Salton Desejo Merlot: bright red plum, raspberry, spice, herbs, chocolate, earth, dirt, very restrained, good fruit, earth, plum, the fruit is not the star of the flavors/aromas. No one would ever call them jammy.

2009 Pizzato Reserva Merlot: light, very reserved nose, earth, dirt, olives, herbal notes, salt, very earth drive, hardly any fruit.

2009 Miolo Merlot Terroir: more fruit than the previous wine, some raspberry, plum, wood, black cherry, tons of acidity, plum, earth, dirt, salt, dark fruit, more familiar as a Merlot, floral.

2009 Pizzato Fausto Verve: funky, black fruit, dark, plum, cherry blackberry, barnyard, herbs, dark, tannic, needs time.

2006 Lidio Carraro Grande Vindima Quorum: strawberry, floral, spice, herbs, cherry, spice, herbs, anise, woody, tannins, lovely nose,

2009 Perini Quatro: vanilla cream chocolate wood, oak lots of it, green under that, but the oak influence is really predominate, smooth, round, fruity, vanilla, cream, would easily appeal to the general North American palate. New world.

2007 Casa Valduga Villa Lobos: funk, earth, mint, eucalyptus, wood, spice herb, some black fruit, very dark, very tannic, needs age.

2008 Miolo Lote 43: chocolate dust, vanilla cream, lovely and floral, cherries, cream, cherry, raspberry, red fruit on the palate, nice mouthfeel, might be my favorite, really restrained austere fruit, mineral, a saltiness, the pieces are all there.

Pretty color on the Moscato.

NV Aurora Carnaval Moscato Rose: very sweet nose, definitely muscat, honey, sweet melon, overripe peach, less sweet in mouth, slightly frizzante, still a ton of peach of melon, could drink a tiny tiny glass, even though nice acidity. My mom would like this.

The standouts from this tasting for me were the NV Casa Valduga 130, the 2007 Salton Desejo Merlot, and the 2008 Miolo Lote 43. Overall I think the 2009 Perini Quatro would likely be the most successful wine in the typical US market.  I’d be very interested to check out more of the sparkling wines from Brazil as I thought they had quite a bit of potential.

Heading to Baltimore!

Although I’ve lived in VA for a decade now, and in the Northern VA area for 7 years, I must admit that I’ve never had a wine from Maryland. I’ll attribute that mostly to being lazy – driving 40 minutes to a VA winery seemed much more convenient over the years. Admittedly, the closest MD winery is only an hour from my house, however, there isn’t a cluster of other wineries nearby, so it would be a 2 hour round trip solely for one vineyard.

In any event, I will rectify that this weekend. I will be joining fellow wine and food bloggers, journalists, industry types, and others for the the 5th annual Drink Local Wine Conference. I’ll be heading up today for an early tour day and will be visiting 3 Maryland vineyards to kick off the conference.  I look forward to reporting back on the state of Maryland wine and any gems I find in the tasting events.

Cheers, and happy wining!

Scarpa via NYC

*Disclaimer: Snooth provided transportation and lodging so I could attend this conference.

Where is Scarpa Winery, you might ask? On this particular night, it was found at Peking Duck in Manhattan, but in reality, Scarpa is in Piedmont, Italy. When I traveled to NYC a couple weeks ago to attend the Snooth People’s Voice Awards blogger conference, we were able to try quite the line up from this winery, which is not currently imported to the US, but is looking to come to the market ASAP. The Scarpa tasting kicked the conference off with a bang, with almost a dozen more tastings to follow. Lucky for Scarpa, being first, our palates were fresh and ready to taste.

Our first flight.

Our first flight.

We tasted through the following line up, in this order:

  • Scarpa Barbera d’Asti, La Bogliona, 2007, $72
  • Scarpa Barbera d’Asti, La Bogliona, 2006, $52
  • Scarpa Barbera d’Asti, La Bogliona, 2005, $68
  • Scarpa Barbera d’Asti, La Bogliona, 1998, $58
  • Scarpa Barbera d’Asti, La Bogliona, 1997, $95
  • Scarpa Barolo, Tettimora, 2005, $74
  • Scarpa Barolo, Tettimora, 2004, $88
  • Scarpa Barolo, Tettimora, 2003, $98
  • Scarpa Barolo, Tettimora, 2001, $130
  • Scarpa Barolo, Tettimora, 1999, $105
  • Scarpa Barolo, Tettimora, 1987, $250
  • Scarpa Barolo, Le Coste di Monforte, 1978, $500

As you can see, we were able to taste through a couple different verticals, as well as even older vintages of both verticals. And yes, the last bottle really does retail for $500, which may be the most expensive wine I’ve ever tasted. I’d have to go back through the last 6+ years of notes to check, but I’m pretty positive that tops my list.

One interesting thing I learned about the winery involved the use of large oak tanks to age the wines, rather than the smaller barrels most wineries in the US favor.  Their idea of the life-span of a tank is also quite different than the American notion that barrels need to be replaced every 2-3 years. The Scarpa tanks are on average currently 12-13 years old and they will use them for at least 30 years. They also use no temperature control in the winery, just open the doors when the weather is nice!

My two favorites of the tasting were the 2005 Scarpa Barbera d’Asti, La Bogliona, and the 1978 Scarpa Barolo, Le Coste di Monforte.  When I’m looking for Italian wine, I often go for a Barbera d’Asti, just because I find it to be a delicious and more affordable alternative alternative to Barolo.

2005 Scarpa Barbera d’Asti, La Bogliona: Spice, herbs, orange zest, chocolate covered orange, crushed violets, black cherry, raspberry, fresh and vibrant, lots of acidity.

1978 Scarpa Barolo, Le Coste di Monforte: Mint chocolate, min, espresso, eucalyptus, coffee bean grounds, anise notes, fresh vanilla, red fruits, cranberry, bright fresh red fruit with excellent acidity. I was really surprised by how much life this wine has in it and can imagine  it could age for years to come given the acidity.

Overall, the strong line up of wines impressed me. In general, I could easily recommend all but the 1998 Barbera because I thought that particular glass had oxidized and so I didn’t get a fair impression of the wine. Here’s hoping Scarpa Winery will find its way to a wine shop near me soon.